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University System of Georgia economic impact grows to $18.6 billion

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ATLANTA — The University System of Georgia (USG) generated an economic impact statewide of $18.6 billion in fiscal 2020.

While that was up 0.6% over fiscal 2019, the system actually produced slightly fewer jobs in fiscal 2020, generating 155,010 jobs directly and indirectly compared to 157,770 in fiscal 2019.

Fiscal 2020 marked the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic in Georgia, forcing the university system to shut down in-person instruction and switch to online classes during the last couple of months of the spring semester that year.

“With strong support from the state and significant planning from our campuses, USG’s economic impact on local communities across Georgia held steady despite a challenger year,” said Teresa MacCartney, the university system’s acting chancellor.

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The annual economic impact study conducted by the Selig Center for Economic Growth at the University of Georgia found that every $1 spent directly by the system’s 26 colleges and universities generated an additional 47 cents for the surrounding region’s economy. Of the $18.6 billion in economic impact in fiscal 2020, $5.9 billion was spent within those local communities.

Of the jobs the system generated, 34% were on-campus positions, while 66% were off-campus jobs in either the public or private sectors.

A second study the Selig Center conducted found that system graduates in the Class of 2020 on average will earn an additional $862,162 during the course of their careers as a result of their degree.

Those graduates who end up working in Georgia are expected to bring in a combined $175 billion in lifetime earnings, of which 34% can be attributed can be attributed to their degrees, according to the report.

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